Another Thrift Store Find

I bought weird art again.  😐

I just couldn’t help myself.

The little boy went back to school on Wednesday, so I went back to the thrift stores.  All three days.

Seven weeks away from them has made my eyes different – hungrier, sharper, more appreciative of their treasures, more open to possibility.

So yeah, I bought weird art again.

At the DAV store, I was looking through a pile of poorly kept posters and papers when I came across a little landscape painting.  It was shoved to the back, forgotten and fearful.

It’s an oil on canvas, ripped from its frame.  The edges are torn, the paint has cracked and even flaked away in a few spots.  There is some other damage as well – a fold, a big pen mark – signs of neglect.

It’s not painted in colors I prefer – lots of dark green.  The scene is not one I would normally be drawn to, but there is something about this painting that made me pause.

I flipped it over to find a price and was not surprised to see $39.00 scribbled in red grease pencil.  Considering the poor condition of the piece, it was easy to scoff at that number.  I probably wouldn’t take it home.

In fact, I would have put the painting down right away, but there was handwriting on the back too and I was compelled to read it.

Turns out the artist scribbled a note.  He put the date and where he was – Korea, 1985.  He also mentioned the people around him.  Just a few simple words and I could immediately picture him there, brush in hand, growling stomach, drizzling rain.  The dark green made sense.

I wanted the painting.

The DAV store is notoriously unwilling to reduce its prices on merchandise.  I decided that it wasn’t meant to be unless I could get it for $20.

I asked with expectation of a fast “no” and the same raised eyebrow and mocking chuckle I usually got, but the pricing manager shocked me this time.  I have shopped in this store since I was a very little girl and never have I been allowed a price I’ve requested.  Never.

Until yesterday.

$20 and the painting is mine.

Here it is:

Happy Friday!

P.S.  Leighann thinks the signature says “Erix.”  I’m not sure…maybe “Grix?”  Neither name yields anything meaningful from Google.  What do you think?


Eggs, Crystal Climbers and Julia


The little boy is very determined to decorate for Easter.

Everyday, he makes me cut out eggs from colored construction paper – dozens and dozens of eggs.

He scribbles little words or pictures on some and on the others, he wants “Mommy words.”

He frequently interrupts my writing and asks me to add a word or even to write something else entirely.

Because of that, the eggs don’t always make a lot of sense.

He writes his name on most of them and then insists on reading each one aloud.

It has actually been a great way to help him learn some new words.

His reading has improved by leaps and bounds this school year.

He loves this egg activity and we’ve done it every afternoon for a week now.

One day, I felt so wasteful that I pulled my traffic school pages out of the recycle bin and cut eggs from them too.

He decorated their plain sides, but he taped them backwards, so now we have California traffic code on our wall.

I don’t know what he remembers or believes about the Easter Bunny, but he sure has holiday spirit.

He decorates for every season and seems very invested in cutting and pasting and taping and stapling.

Every bit of it goes up on the wall or hangs from the chandelier.

It’s serious business.

As much as I don’t prefer the look of our front room a lot of the time, I am cheered by his purposeful effort to make our house into a home.

He puts his stamp on everything and takes pride in his work.

How can I be bothered by that?

Crystal Climbers

For Christmas, we got him a box of Crystal Climbers from Lakeshore Learning.

He plays with them once a week or so.

They’re not a hugely exciting toy, but he makes the most of them.

Last week, he was quietly playing with them in the front room while I was busy in the kitchen.

When I walked back to see how he was doing, he was just coming down the stairs.

He had gone to get the tape from my sewing table.

Groovy, man.

Getting the tape out of his hair made us both laugh.

Oh, how I love this little boy.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S.  Have any of you read The Reader?  Is it worth keeping in my someday pile?  You know, that’s the ginormous heap of books on top of the piano that I’d like to get to, but probably never will.  I have one friend who didn’t like the book or the movie.  What do you think?

P.P.S.  Julia Child is alive and well and showing her stuff, right in our own front yard.  Lovely.


I Don’t Think He’s An Armadillo

I went to Kobey’s Swap Meet on Saturday.  I hadn’t been to it in a couple of years.

I knew it couldn’t hold a candle to the amazing Rose Bowl Flea Market where I went a few weeks ago, but I was unprepared for one of the bigger differences between the two.

Kobey’s is a weekly neighborhood swap meet.  Obviously, it’s much less expensive to get in and it’s a great deal smaller.  My expectations were in line with that and I was okay with it.

What I had forgotten is that Kobey’s has a much more typical Southern California pedestrian beach vibe than the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  I don’t recall seeing anyone without a shirt in Pasadena.  It’s casual there, certainly, but there’s also an unspoken code of more formal conduct and dress.

The explanation for that may be as simple as the Rose Bowl’s proximity to Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  Or it could be its reputation as a world class shopping destination.  After all, you do hear about the Rose Bowl Flea Market on national t.v. and in pretty decorating magazines.  Whatever the reason, it just has a slightly different caliber of clientele.

Not true at Kobey’s.

I worked very hard to avoid seeing bare nipples and butt cracks this weekend.

I guess I’m kind of a prude when it comes to seeing very private body parts in public.  In general, I just don’t prefer it.  And I am pretty much repelled by it when it’s not at the beach or a pool.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty of every size and shape, man or woman, young or old, fat or thin.  It just that I think there’s an appropriate time and place for things.

Unfortunately, there was a shirtless guy at Kobey’s on Saturday and he was clearly following the same route I was through the market, because I couldn’t seem to shake him.

At one point, I even turned in the opposite direction just to get away from him and his bare nipples.  He was walking a few yards in front of me, but the density of the crowd was forcing the gap between us to shrink.

I abruptly turned and went back down the row I had just come up, but when I reached the center aisle, there he was again.  Ack!

Truly, there was nothing wrong with this man’s physique.  My issue with his nakery isn’t about that.

It’s just that it was a little warm, I presume he was perspiring and had removed his shirt for that reason, and it kinda grossed me out to think that the crowds might make me smash into him.  Would he be slimy?  Blech.  Put your shirt on, naked man!

As much as I enjoyed the sunny walk and browsing through the vendor stalls, I was actually relieved to reach the exit and finally get away from him.

That said, I do recommend Kobey’s.  It’s a nice way to spend a morning and it doesn’t require a huge commitment of dollars or time.  Maybe you even like shopping with shirtless guys?  There’s a little bit of everything for sale there, including fresh flowers, produce and a variety of new and used merchandise.

I bought a few children’s books at 50 cents a piece and for another $4.00, I got this guy, whom I don’t think is an armadillo:

I’m calling him Gourdy.

He is hand-carved, hollow inside, and filled with a handful of beans or pebbles.

If you shake him, he makes a pleasant, mellow, maraca sound.

I love him.

Love him.



He’s far more appealing than shirtless guy.

Seriously though, nipples aside, I had a good time.


That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Do you love Gourdy too?

What do you think he is?

Write me a note.

Happy Tuesday!


Artelexia, Architectural Salvage, Little Italy

Might not have time to write later, so just wanted to share a couple of links…

My friend and I went to Artelexia, finally!  Love, love, love it!  LOVE.  IT.

Also went to Architectural Salvage in its new location next door to Artelexia.  I thought this store had closed, but I was wrong.

We also walked a bit in Little Italy, got a bite to eat at a walk-up pizza joint, and then perused a few other interesting stores on the way back to the car.

This was a very pleasant afternoon activity.  My only regret is that we did not go to Extraordinary Desserts.  I sort of feel like that’s a must if you get within a block or two.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Little Italy and it’s proximity to Lindbergh Field, let’s just say that it’s a go-to destination if you are keen on close-up viewing of GIANT FREAKING PLANES that pass over every few minutes.  I had forgotten this and I had a very intense duck-and-cover response to them.  Even so, they were very interesting.

Anyhoo…maybe more later…maybe not.  😀

Happy Monday!


No Real Time Today

Trying to get back to daily posts,


I have three appointments today,

I’m not allowed to eat until they’re over,

and I’m already kind of grumpy.


I offer you some alternative entertainment.


People Watching

Food Wit

CJane’s Cute Baby


Happy Thursday!!


Where did the week go?

Thursday evening – finally cooling off after kind of a hot day.  Blech.  I wasn’t meant for heat.

Husband and son are out for their evening bike ride, so I thought I’d take advantage of the quiet in the house.

The afternoon was a little noisy.  Inside and out.

The twenty-somethings next door spent the afternoon constructing a four-foot bike ramp.

When my son opened the door with his own bicycle, he was very interested in the big boys and their super fast, helmet-free disaster moves.

The first kid crashed and provided an instant and colorful visual to accompany my no-jumping-off-the-neighbor’s-ramp-until-you’re-bigger rule.

Thank you, crashing friend of neighbor kid.  I appreciate your effort to help illustrate my point.

Things are going well at school this week.

I still don’t have my hands on the amended behavior form :-x, but I’m not going to think about it until tomorrow.

The new teacher seems nice and has the right demeanor for the classroom.  Even more importantly, my son’s new aide is spectacular.  Spectacular!

I got teary in the car after talking to her for a moment at school today – teary from joy and relief and more joy.  She has brought music back to my son’s education.

I can’t tell you what that means to me.  Well, wait, yes I can, but I should probably sing it.  😀

When I got home this afternoon, I asked my husband if he has ever considered that autism may be the universe’s way of whacking us over the head for taking music and art out of the schools.

Husband thought I meant that autism is the universe’s revenge, but that’s not what I mean.  In fact, it’s really just the opposite.

I think that it’s a gift to us, like a magic pair of glasses or earphones.  In a way, autism has helped our society to appreciate the symbiotic relationship between science and art and to harness its power to effectively reach our kids.  Our kids.  My kid.  Music is one of the best ways to connect with my son.  Today, the aide told me that he gave up his computer time to join the class in an end of the day song!

Yeah, so, I got teary, because I like the other aide a lot (the pregnant one), but I love this aide.  She’s the right one and she’s assigned to work with my little boy.  I was not surprised to hear that she is almost done earning her own special ed teaching credential.  She’s a natural and I wish there were more of her.  Every kid in that school deserves an aide like this.  Really, they do.

I wish I weren’t so tired all the time, because I think I could do it too.  I think I could be a good aide or a teacher.  I took the CBEST test when I was pregnant eight years ago, but that’s it.  I never took classes and never pursued a credential in any other way.  Life happened and I didn’t have time.  And now I’m tired.

I don’t know that I have it in me to teach all day, every day, but I’m starting to wish I could at least substitute a few days a month.  I love the kids, especially the kids in special ed.

If I could balance some education classes with my son’s schedule and needs, if I could figure out how to get more rest, if I could get a handle on the things that fatigue me, then maybe.  Maybe! Just maybe I could do it.

If I don’t get too intimidated.

I have friends and family members who have been teaching forever.  They know everything about education.  I don’t.  Or at least, I don’t know anything more than how to move my kid through the system without major damage.  Even that isn’t certain until I get the amended behavior form tomorrow.

I also get a little intimidated by the fact that I have now put all my failures as a parent on the internet.  Would you put your kid in my class?  Maybe, maybe not.  Hmmm.  Lots to think about.

Okay, the boys will be back soon and I am fast losing focus anyway (yet another reason I occasionally doubt my potential to be anything else :|).

Here they come and I want to post this, so wrapping up now.

Buh bye.

Oh, and Happy Thursday.  😀

P.S.  Stay tuned for some before and after pix of the little boy’s room.  We’re going to change it up a bit in the next couple of weeks.  (Goodbye, Winnie the Pooh!  I will miss you and your lovely blueness.)



A few years ago, a good friend told me about a game she sometimes plays to amuse her kids.

Each person draws a head on the top half of a small piece of paper, then passes the paper, face down, to the next person.

That person draws the body below (without peeking at the head).

(It helps if the person drawing the head makes little tick marks on the bottom half of the paper to indicate where the neck should be.)

When everyone has finished, the papers are unfolded and the entire creature is revealed.

Since I have my friend’s daughter with me today, we decided to play!

Here is what we drew:

I’m kind of partial to the chick-monk myself.



Make Things – Pay It Forward Art Project 2010 – post edit*

*  I stole this pay it forward art idea from Suzanne.  Find her lovely blog here.

Since only one person (yea Jewyl!!) responded to my original post about this,

I thought you all could use a little reminder.

So, here’s the deal:

The first five (5) people to leave a comment on this post will get something made by me.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

  1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.
  2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
  3. It’ll be done in 2010.
  4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be.
  5. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber.
  6. I reserve the right to do something strange.  :)
  7. In return, all you need to do is post (or forward) this text into a note of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your note.
  8. Send your mailing address if you don’t live close to me!

Got it?

Okay, get to writing those comments!


Roses and Boredom

Husband and I have very little luck with roses in our yard.

We don’t have the right soil, the right water sources, the right patience…the right anything.

We tried really hard the first few years, but we got rusty leaves, white fly and a variety of other problems.

We gave up.  And, I kid you not, I have cried over this.

Some people dream of white picket fences or cobblestone paths for their very first homes.

All I could think about were roses.  Lots and lots of roses.

I thought we would have them everywhere, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Their thorns scratched the husband and the little boy when they passed to mow the lawn.

Their blooms were beautiful, but not abundant.

The leaves were plentiful, but unattractive.

The yard was just not big enough.

We took the roses out.

“Good riddance” we said, but I miss them.  A lot.

We kept just one.

In the front yard, in the wrong spot, hidden from our view, there is one little plant struggling to survive.

I don’t see it when I look out the window.

I don’t see it when I pull up in the driveway.

I don’t see it when I’m daydreaming about the roses that are gone.

I don’t ever see it, but this week, husband was out there cutting and mowing and chopping things down.

I wandered outside and there it was, bare and boring.  Husband had just pruned it back.

I took the branches at his feet and brought them in to see if their blooms might be salvaged for a vase.

I was rewarded for my teeny effort.

Look at these colors.  All from the same little starving stems.

I’ve decided this is the best rose bush in the whole world.

I can even forgive it for those little rust spots on the leaves.

Not a surprise that the variety is called Joseph’s Coat.

Alleviating the little boy’s holiday boredom required construction paper and box of cake mix.

First, we made some Memorial Day decorations for the chandelier – stars and “yoyos” (as the little boy calls the curly streamers).

We incorporated his holiday school craft…

and his drawing and cutting skills…

and we wasted a TON of staples and an entire ROLL of tape on this patriotic paper chain:

Miniature cupcakes provided sweet relief from our open afternoon schedule.

They also gave me a great excuse to try out the new frosting tips I bought last week.

I’ve decided that I will only make miniature cupcakes in the future.

They’re more fun to eat (one bite if nobody’s looking – 😀 – way better than their big messy cousins).

They’re more fun to decorate (you don’t need the professional tips – just snip the corner off a ziploc bag and fill with frosting) and they’re much easier to store.

Plus, minis just seem to go better with kids.  😀

Make some, you’ll see.

All that, a fabulous Saturday with mom, Sunday coffee with the girlfriends, a quick grocery run this morning and we’ve had a pretty good weekend!

Wish us luck on getting the little boy off to school tomorrow after four days at home.  😐  Sigh.

Happy Monday!


#12 – Things I sorta already knew…

but learned again this month:

  1. Undercooked onion rings are a huge disappointment.
  2. Even if you buy the Mother’s Day cards a week early, you won’t get them out on time.
  3. My son won’t eat the second pop-tart in the pack.  Doesn’t matter when he opened it.  The second one is no good.
  4. I can leave my house, get to See’s Candies, hand pick selections for an entire one pound box, get out of the store and be home again in less than thirty minutes.  And only two minutes of that is for candy decisions.
  5. Whenever I buy new sheets, I have to pay full price.  No matter what size, what color, fitted, flat, cases or shams, what I want is NEVER on the clearance rack.
  6. I feel calmer when there are at least four avocados and ten tomatoes in the house.
  7. Clothing designers do not know how to dress full figured women.
  8. The rarely encountered super sweet watermelon is well worth the cash you waste on all the ones you hoped were good, but found were not.
  9. My son is really tall and there are no pants in the world that fit his tiny waist and still go all the way to his feet.  (Insert chuckle for Mom’s story about altering my older brother’s pants to fit my middle brother’s smaller waist.  By the time she was through taking them in, the pants’ pockets met in the back.)
  10. If you really want to post something, you will find a few minutes in your day.  😀
  11. Some people have nothing better to do than criticize their neighbors.
  12. There is not enough blank wall space in our house.  We need a big family photo gallery somewhere.
  13. Just when you think you have recovered from the disappointment of accidentally breaking something in your kitchen, you will break something else.  Seriously.  Two utensil crocks.  Ten minutes apart.  Smashed ’em both.
  14. It’s not a good idea to buy any of those cold salads at the deli counter in the grocery store.
  15. I kinda love chickens.  And weird wooden shelf things.  And blue paint.

Happy Saturday.  🙂

P.S. Got all the little chickies a few years ago in a shop on Olvera Street.  So fun.  You should go there.